I first met Diane Mouton of Fat Cat Flowers when I was researching florists for my wedding. She made me feel so at ease and welcome into her shop and like I was her number one priority.
Since then and after our interview, I believe I've grown to know Diane and her business fairly well. When describing her several words come to mind: personal, enthusiastic, engaged, professional yet completely free and owns her creativity.
Born and raised in Vermont, Diane came to New Orleans when she was 16 years old to attend Tulane. She fell in love with New Orleans! She describes it as, "the perfect blend of big and small and it has such a close knit and rich community....It's almost European." She never looked back.
While at Tulane, surprisingly Diane studied accounting which is the exact opposite of being a florist. But, like Diane says, to run a good business you have to make money. And you have to be able to pay good staff. And her business background has served her well (I know who I'm going to for business advice in the future).
Diane graduated and went to work in the hospitality industry in catering and at the Marriott and in restaurants which gave her the customer service foundation she believes is key to her success. And I have to agree. I think she has a great combination of professionalism, business experience, and customer service skills that truly sets her apart from others.
Yes, I wondered how she got from accounting and catering to being a full time florist. As most of you know, accounting can be stressful, so she needed a change. She thought about starting a restaurant, but that would involve a lot monetarily. So she looked herself and at what she really liked doing in life. Flowers. She loved flowers. She worked at several flower shops around the city to get a feel for how they functioned. In 2005 she started Fat Cat Flowers in her basement, and moved into her current studio several years later.
To ensure there is great design, great value, great reliability in every single event she does, Diane attends shows, uses the internet and goes to Market every year. She sees the trends before they get here and is able to show them to her clients. The trend right now is to be more eclectic but keep it cohesive. She wants it to be a true reflection of the client.
This is why when Diane begins the planning process, it's all about getting to know the client and pulling the entire picture together to ensure everything gels. She wants to know about your theme, your colors and yes, she wants to know about your dress because the bouquet is an accessory, and everything flows out from there. She wants you to use Pinterest to try to find your style so she can have a visual to pull from. And for some clients, the process is more detailed and involves more meetings, and for other clients, it's about Diane being creative. It's definitely a balance and a skill in adjusting. But Diane's main goal is that she genuinely wants people to come into the shop and know without a doubt she can recreate their dream and KNOW that she's going to show up on time. And that really is her mantra - be personal and be reliable and be creative.
Don't be afraid to talk about your budget with Diane! We know this can be a painful or sticky subject Be prepared to talk about what you want so she can work within it. In the end she wants you, the client, to be happy. (HINT: Using in-season flowers also costs less and makes a great show.)
Because of the need to keep things personal, Fat Cat Flowers does limit the amount of weddings they book each year. So book early! Diane recognizes you need to book the venue, band, and photographer first because they book fast in New Orleans, but if you want Fat Cat, you should book at least 6months in advance. Of course there are highly competitive months: for example, October books extremely fast, so book them at least a year in advance.
In addition to doing weddings, Fat Cat also does corporate events for the following: Brennan's restaurants, August Catering, City Park, Pat O's. Fat Cat has solid relationships with many people. In addition, she continues relationships with clients, so she also does other personal events in their lives like births, anniversaries, and even funerals.
Wrapping things up, Diane would tell clients, she wants them to remember to slow down and enjoy the day. "Just relax."
This blog was done by It's Your Time Events in an effort to become more of a resource to brides and others looking to have events in New Orleans. If you are interested in having It's Your Time Events plan your big day (or any other event), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 985-234-9757.